A fire is devastating in all measures. If your house or business is destroyed by a fire, it is difficult to recover from a fire as everything has been lost. Even if the fire did not totally burn down your house or property, there are still a number of concerns that needs to be addressed such as damage from ashes, soot and smoke. A house or a store or shop is not suitable to be lived in as there might be toxic fumes or substances that is a byproduct of the fire. Hence, recovering from a fire might take some time and this will really put the homeowner in a difficult situation. On the other hand, filing for fire insurance claim for your burned house or store might prove to be complicated and difficult to do without a public adjuster. Here are a few points to remember if you ever experience having a property burned down or destroyed by a fire.
Check Your Insurance Policy
After a fire, it is of prime importance to ensure that there is no loss of life from it. We can actually rely on our first responders to work efficiently and be able to prevent the loss of life. When this is out of the way, the next thing to do after a fire is to check your insurance policy and coverage. You cannot file a fire insurance claim if it is not covered by your insurance policy. You need to know the different homeowner insurance policy there is and the coverage it entails as no two insurance policies are the same. If you have Coverage A, it means that you have total coverage of your home and even beneath the floor area. This is the maximum coverage and you can claim for reimbursement for total damage. If you have Coverage B, the surrounding areas, structures and buildings in your home or property is also covered like pools and walkways. Coverage C includes your personal belongings that have been damaged by the fire, it can be anything that is inside your house or store that you use and own. Coverage D is for living expenses that you will incur because you are unable to live in your damaged house. This will allow the family to live comfortably even if their house has been damaged.
Even before you file for a fire insurance claim, check your policy and coverage and the maximum reimbursable amount so you can get the maximum amount that is due to you. Take note that insurance companies will always try to find a way to pay you less than what the policy states that you paid for. So even before you make the claim, be very sure of what you are legally entitled to. This would communicate to the insurance company that you are informed and know what you are doing.
Hire a Public Adjuster
A licensed public adjuster specializes in assisting homeowners whose properties had been devastated by a fire. The process of filing for a fire insurance claim is quite complicated and you need a public adjuster to represent you and negotiate with the insurance company the amount they should reimburse you for your home or property. A public adjuster works for the benefit of the homeowner, although some public adjusters have been hired by insurance companies and they will only serve the interests of their employers and not the homeowner. So if someone presents him or herself to you, check them out first from your state roster of licensed public adjusters.
Public adjusters are allowed by law to negotiate on your behalf with your insurance provider and be assured that they will see to it that you get the maximum amount due to you as stated in your policy. Filing a fire insurance claim is a circus and the homeowners need not be present in all of those negotiations as it might leave them depressed and exhausted. Instead, they can let the public adjuster do the work and they can focus on rebuilding their lives or bringing back a sense of normalcy.
A public adjuster will do all the heavy work in making sure that you can file a fire insurance claim, this includes the documentation of all the visible damage in your property, an evaluation of unseen damages that might exist, a total audit of what has been lost in the fire and computes the amount that should be reimbursed to you. The public adjuster will also act as your communication point with the insurance provider, so you would not need to concern yourself with meetings and negotiations that can be emotional and difficult.
Hire A Hygienist
A hygienist is necessary for you to be able to file your fire insurance claim. Although the title is a bit funny, a hygienist is needed to assess the damage that your property has incurred because of the fire. A Certified Industrial Hygienist will test your house for any toxic substances from the surfaces inside the house, debris and residues are collected, then air is also collected to test for chemical substances that permeates the air inside the house and other particulate contaminants found in the furniture, floors and walls inside the house.
A hygienist will submit the samples for testing in a laboratory and once the results are in, the hygienist will prepare a report and will identify the extent and cost of damages to the property. This will also figure into the amount that the fire insurance claim will be asking from the insurance provider.
Be aware also that insurance companies might refer you to a hygienist that they actually employ, refuse the said offer or the services and stick with a hygienist of your choice.
Insurance companies will always try to negotiate for a lower amount and it would take some time before they will come to a counter offer that is acceptable to you. So have lots of patience and trust your public adjuster that he or she will be your champion in this long and arduous process.